Thursday, December 31, 2009

a year reflected in status updates...

2009 reflected in randomly selected status updates. Oh Facebook, how we love thee.

Ali Barnes Davis: is learning how to be still and wait~is rolling up her sleeves for family work day down at mama potts' place~is counting up 28 years of blessings~wishes that "summer break" and "children's healthcare of atlanta" belonged in the same sentence~is reflecting on gidge's quote of the day "the caboose has the most fun. that's why it's painted red"~just completed 3 1/2 minutes of out of control car dancing with her favorite 2 year old to "boom boom pow" fabulousness~God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask for or imagine. Eph 3:20~husband + inaugural babies r us trip + jog stroller test drive = hilariousness. have never laughed so hard in all my life~quest for elastic waistband pants yielded one tall caramel apple spice and absolutely no pants~happy dance! happy dance! happy dance! so proud of my hubby!~just got surprised with tickets to the Rockette's tonight. ali is a happy girl~has the best friends and family a girl could ask for.

Happy New Year! Many Blessings to you all for 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Up My Sleeve

I have something up my sleeve.

I'm so excited I could just burst.

It involves New Years Eve and it involves my sweet Hubs.

And I am not telling him ONE TINY DETAIL. *Giggles*

Saturday, December 26, 2009

12 Days of Christmas

On the 12th Day of Christmas
My true love sent to me

12 Candy Cane Joe-Joes

11 batches of homemade sausage balls

10 caramel apple spice drinks

9 Buttermilk pies a-baking

8 S'more ornaments a-hanging

7 Mall of GA parking lot face-offs

6 pseudo-Santas

5 Christmas Eve Chick-fil-Nugget-Night sauces

4 Hours of A Christmas Story marathon

3 inappropriate white elephant gifts

2 presents opened early

and all my Christmas dreams made true!

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. ~Hamilton Wright Mabie~

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hope Floats

I have watched the movie "Hope Floats" approximately 56 times since it's debut in 1998. It ranks right up there with ET and Footloose in my world.

One of my all time favorite quotes is when Birdee reminds Bernice-Matice that:

"Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will."

Chris' case got turned over to the superior court last week. While we totally expected it and knew it was coming, just hearing the confirmation of it brought us to our knees.

I've been thinking a lot about hope lately. Strangely (or not so strangely) enough, our message at church this morning was on just that--the concept of hope.

It's funny to think about how loosely we tend to throw around the 4 letter word "hope".

"I hope we get to have pancakes for breakfast."
"I hope I don't run out of gas on the way to work today because I am too cold and lazy to stop and fill up my tank.:
"I hope Old Navy puts their PJ bottoms on sale soon."
"I sure hope you don't snore tonight."
"I hope I didn't forget anything on my list in Super WalMart because there's no chance I'm going back in there."
"I hope you know how much I love you!"

Though casually tossed around, that little word has meaning that packs a heavy punch. What a phenomenon.

PK reminded us this morning that human hope is quite different from divine HOPE.

Human hope is an act of wishing based on chance. Few have human hope fulfilled and those that do learn that hope typically fades quickly.

Divine HOPE is an act of will distinctive from wishing, based on certainty. It is for all and it is forever.

I realized this morning that a great deal of my superficial hoping is based on human hope.

In my heart of hearts, I ultimately know that I don't get through life simply "hoping" and "wishing", rather through the divine HOPE I have in a God who is all powerful and sovereign. Human hope is sufficient for insufficient hopes. If you are willing to "take your chances" on hope, human hope is just fine and dandy. Divine HOPE is not based on chance. Divine HOPE requires a mighty faith.

We know that in order to deal with the hand we have been dealt right now, we must get a hold of divine HOPE and hold on to it with all of our might. And that is just what we are doing. We HOPE that in whatever you may be dealing with in your own life right now, that you will too :) Kindle Series. Hope.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Getting a Kick Out of Things

18 weeks, 19 weeks, 20 weeks. Holy Toledo!

We can hardly believe it! What a fun 20 1st weeks this has been! On one hand it feels like time is creeping by. On the other hand, it feels like it is flying by.

I absolutely LOVE being pregnant. I wake up each day and am instantly reminded of the HUGE blessing we have been given. I sit on the side of the bed (partly because it takes a second for my organs to redistribute themselves, partly because I have to pee so bad that I can't make any sudden movements) in complete awe at the miracle of it all.

I felt Nolan move for the first time on Thanksgiving night. He started kicking me yesterday. He prefers to dig one foot into my left hip and flail about with the other. At this point in the game, I realize that it's impossible to know if that is truly what is happening, but it sure feels like it to me. If it's not his foot wedged in my hip, perhaps its my kidney.

At 18 weeks Chris surprised me with a trip to the Fox to see the Rockettes! What fun!! We ate dinner at Bonefish (mmm, Bang Bang Shrimp) and spent the evening under the stars at the Fox. The dancing bears left a little to be desired, but the rest of the show was absolutely FABULOUS!

Despite the trauma of our 19th week, little Nolan pressed on, growing, flipping, swimming, and moving around like a little wiggle worm. He was a constant reminder of God's faithfulness to us throughout that entire week.
At 20 weeks we decided it was time to put on our party panties and start our Christmas festivities. We went to a gazillion Christmas parties and get-togethers, spent tons of time with our dear families and precious friends, drank caramel apple spice drinks, and had an old fashioned dance party in the kitchen one afternoon. Nolan grew 400 inches and people stopped asking if I was stress-eating and started telling me that I looked preggers. Overall a most fabulous week!
This Week's News:

Food Cravings: Lordy. It started with an insatiable desire for coleslaw and ended with Caffeine Free Coca-Cola and cheese grits.

Emotional Basketcase Moments: I think my previous post (err...novel...sorry about the length of that entry folks...) pretty much sums this one up. Additional basketcase moments surfaced with the outpouring of love and generosity bestowed upon us by our friends and family members. Many snot rockets were blown on many occasions this week. We are blessed beyond words.

Hormonal Rage Currently Directed At: Clayton County. We had to drive through AGAIN last night on the way home from a Christmas party and I all but threw up in my lap just seeing the "Now entering Clayton County" sign. Sigh.

Currently Grateful For: my amazing husband, family, friends, and co-workers. You never truly realize how blessed and loved you are until life hands you a situation like ours last week. We had NO idea how many people love us. Grateful isn't even the word.

Much love,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bring the Rain

My greatest desire in all that we are going through is for God to be glorified. I was reminded of this very fact within the first few hours of our ordeal last week.

Despite the craziness that surrounded us, the bigger picture was made quite evident. It doesn't matter what the outcome of our situation will be. I believe that is already determined. What matters most, is that in the midst of it all, that God be lifted high.

That being said, we have witnessed SO many God-moments over the past week. The love of our friends and family has been made evident in a way that's so grand that it's almost unfathomable. We are surrounded by people who love us, support us, and are rootin' for us. And we couldn't ask for more.

I can count a million times
People asking me how
I can praise You with all that
I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You,
Jesus bring the rain.


Friday, December 11, 2009

6:58 am: Not for the Faint of Heart

Plans for this weekend:
1. Go to Christmas tree farm. Sing Fa-ra-ra-ra-rah while selecting the most perfect tree.
2. Go to Starbucks. Purchase 2 tall apple caramel spice drinks.
3. Decorate tree. Watch "Christmas Carol" for 438th time.
4. Assemble nursery furniture. Decorate Nolan's room to hearts desire.
5. Attend Chris' work Christmas party. Wear new boots. Drink sparkling grape juice.
6. Worship with hundreds of 12 Stoners. Rock babies in nursery.

A weekend so happy and normal you'd almost never know that our lives were completely changed at 6:58 am this past Monday morning.

I have decided to blog about something. Something so horrific and serious that part of me shudders at the very thought of being open with the intimate details of this week. The other part of me knows that I absolutely need to share this story. I share it not asking for sympathy or comments or friendly gasps of horror. I share it because I want people to know just how sovereign our God truly is and just how much he's sees us through life's absolute trials.

As a disclaimer, if you would prefer not to go any further or to expose yourself to our story, please stop reading now. I apologize in advance for the shock this post will possibly bring about. Here goes...

Last weekend we spent time down with my family at Callaway Gardens. It was the most fabulous weekend. We ate yummy dinner, shopped in the Christmas Village, and rode the Santa Trolley pulled by a fictional horse named Snowflake. We sang Christmas carols and drank hot chocolate. We drove home, went to church Sunday morning, lunch Sunday afternoon, and I shopped the afternoon away while Chris lounged and caught up on all of his favorite TV shows.

Sunday night I got my toes done (yay!), went to dinner, and shopped the late night sale at Macy's to buy Chris a new outfit for his upcoming business trip to Phoenix. Chris went to his piano lesson and dinner with his scuba diving instructor. We met back at home late Sunday night, packed Chris up for his business trip, kissed each other goodnight, and said our prayers.

Chris left the house for the airport at 5am Monday morning. I groggily kissed him goodbye, marveled at how good he looked in his new button down, and sent him on his way.

At 6:58 am, as I was drying my hair, I saw the light on my cell phone light up. Assuming it was the normal "I'm on the plane. Taking off. Love you!" text message, I continued drying my hair. About 2 minutes later I put down the blow dryer and went over to see the ever familiar words so I could rest easy that all was well.

Rest easy was not what happened in the least.

I opened my phone to see the words: "Been arrested".

Oh, I thought. Okie dokie. Back to drying my hair I went. About 3 seconds later I went through the roof, landed in the fetal position and began panicking in a way that I have never quite had to panic.

"Been arrested"??!?! What in the world!? A million things began racing through my mind. Did we forget to renew our tags and he get pulled over on the way to the airport?? Did he unknowingly cause and accident on 85 and get arrested for leaving the scene?? Did he cut off the wrong person and end up getting in a bout of road rage??

No. He did not.

What he did do was: wake up Monday morning, grab red rolling Samsonite travel suitcase, hop in car, drive to airport, park car, grab North Face book bag from backseat to use as carry on, and frolicked right into Hartsfield-Jackson airport. He be-bopped his way to security, got in line with 2 other men (1 military, 1 businessman), and slid his bags onto the conveyor belt. The men all removed their shoes and belts, placed them on the line, and glanced up at the x-ray machine. Chris immediately noticed that someone had brought a gun in their bag. He turned to the military guy behind him and said "Man, you know you can't bring guns into the airport!". Military man clarified that is wasn't his. Businessman clarified that it wasn't his. Chris obtains his shoes and belt, begins to put them on, grabs the old Samsonite, and begins to look for his Northface bag.

When his eyes find it, they also find federal agents, APD officers, and TSA agents.

I can't even begin to imagine the feeling that settled into the pit of his stomach. He instantly remembered that inside his book bag (which had been inside his car all weekend) was: one HP computer, one Alfred Dunner Piano Christmas Book, and one 9 millimeter glock handgun.

Insert gasping, horror, and a million other negative thoughts.

He immediately raised his hand and said "That's my bag. Inside it is a computer, a piano book, and a glock handgun. I had NO idea it was in there and I am SO sorry".

There was no scene. No handcuffing. No slamming of Chris on the hard airport floor. No code orange overhead announcement.

They quietly told him that they needed to open his book bag and that he needed to witness them removing the contents. He repeatedly apologized and attempted to explain the unfortunate accident that just unfolded. The calmness of the situation led him to believe they were going to confiscate the gun and go from there.

Then they led him into a secure area. And arrested him. And charged him with carrying a concealed weapon.

Because the incident took place in the airport, the feds temporarily turn over jurisdiction to the Clayton County Police. Chris was placed in a patrol car and transported to the Clayton County Jail. On the way, he was told that he was charged with a misdemeanor and that his bond was set at $5700.00. The compassionate officer who was transporting him allowed him to send me a text message.

Mind you, I knew NONE (and I mean NONE) of these details at the time. All I knew was that something horrible had happened and that I needed our families ASAP. All of whom came flying up to get me (I had managed to make it to work by this time only to flail about and grow increasingly inconsolable). Chris' mom came and found me and we high-tailed it to Clayton County to "solve" the situation.

We arrived and were told that Chris' bond had been set. In the short time it took for me to panic at the thought of coming up with $5700 dollars and walking into the jail, Clayton County withdrew the bond and booked Chris as a felon with no bail.

Upon realizing that the crime had taken place in the airport, where there is an absolute ZERO tolerance rule (as there very well should be), the nature of the incident turned instantly a gazillion times more serious.

I asked to see Chris. The answer was absolutely not. I asked to talk to him. The answer was absolutely not. He was being booked with other felons and was not privy to anything at this point. No bond. No phone call. No nothin'.

So I did what any good wife would do, and called his boss. His relatively new boss. The boss of his amazingly wonderful new job.

Afterall, he needed to know that Chris was not on that plane and would not be making his trip. His boss immediately clued me in to the fact that I needed an attorney, and I needed an attorney who could rectify the situation STAT.

I called a dozen of our close friends, most old rugby guys from Georgia who have gone into law post glory days. None are criminal attorneys. I began collecting referrals like I collect Willow Tree Angels. I started calling but was so hysterical that I could not even make out the words to the story. No one wanted to take the case. I was reminded of the seriousness of the crime and was advised that I needed an attorney with expertise in this area of law.
Unfortunately, my hot pink Rolodex did not contain a phone number to an attorney who specializes in felonies.

I was stumped.

I called Chris' boss and asked him to call the contact person at Glock (the handgun company). Being a potential client of Chris' company, this was a gamble. My thinking was "who better to advise us than a gun company!?" I'm sure his boss' thought was "why involve a potential client in something this serious???"

Within 10 minutes I had the phone number of Glock's ex-attorney in my hands. A God send. He was motivated to take the case and was immediately available to advise me further.

Our phone call went something like this: 1) Chris is not entitled to an attorney at this stage in the game. 2) Chris is not entitled to a bond. 3) Chris needs a bond hearing. 4) If Chris goes before the right judge, a bond may be set. 5) The bond will most likely have restrictions set with it (i.e. no travel, etc.)--these restrictions greatly impact his ability to continue working 6) I need to be prepared for the bond to be anywhere from $50,000-$100,000. 7) In order to retain Mr. Glock I needed $4000.

At this point I threw up in my mouth. I mean, what else do you do? I assessed our financial situation; realized that short of selling our first born child (who I realized I was carrying throughout this entire ordeal), there was no way humanly possible that I could meet these requirements. I said I could anyway and realized that my faith is a lot bigger than my reality.

A bond hearing was set for Tuesday afternoon at 1:30pm. Between Monday morning and Tuesday morning I sat with our moms, crying uncontrollably, and staring at the phone hoping that I would at least be able to talk to my beloved husband.

My cellphone rang. "This is a collect call from an inmate at the Clayton County Jail. Press one to accept charges."

Pound key pad with all my might.

"I'm sorry. You may not accept collect calls from a cell phone". Click.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!??????? My cell rang again. And again. And again. Same song and dance.


At 11pm Monday night the house phone rang. I was allowed to press one and I was allowed to hear the sweetest voice I have ever heard. We had approximately 10 minutes to cry, talk, cry, and talk more. I asked him if he was ok. I asked him where he was. I asked him what he was wearing. I asked him if he had anything to eat. I asked him if he had been beaten up.

And then I asked him how in the WORLD this happened.

The gun was in his backpack from the weekend. He threw his piano book in his backpack after his lesson Sunday night without looking, and grabbed his book bag Monday morning as an afterthought to carry his belongings. Never once did he think about the gun in the bottom of the bag. Never once did he think he would be sitting in this position.

I cried. He reassured me. I cried some more. Then the collect call lady told us that we had 1 more minute. Then she disconnected the call.

We arrived at the courthouse Tuesday afternoon, waited on the attorney to show up, and prayed for God to show us mercy and grace.

When the attorney arrived at the courthouse and saw the name of the judge on the chamber doors, he informed me that if we had to go in front of a judge today, that this was not the judge we wanted to go in front of. Great day alive.

At this point there were so many of our family members there that upon entering the chamber, half of us had to go back outside due to limited room for family members. Apparently felons don't always have fan clubs that come to support them.

Chris' mom, my mom, and I sat on the pew (so similar to a church pew I began to sob again). In walk 29 inmates.

Dressed in orange jumpsuits.

I hear a sound that resembles the sound of someone dropping their keys. Ka-chink, ka-chink, ka-chink. I look down and see their feet. In shackles. My mom dug her knuckle in my leg to remind me that if I sobbed any louder we could be kicked out of the courtroom. When I looked at her, she was sobbing too. Apparently she's got the wisdom and experience to know how to pull out the silent cry in situations such as these.

The inmates were told if they turn their heads to the left or right, they will be thrown out of the courtroom and will forfeit their right to a hearing.

So there is my darling husband. Sitting in the middle of 29 orange jumpsuit clad inmates, with shackles on his feet. The same darling husband who just days earlier surprised me with tickets to the Rockettes. The same darling husband who vacuumed the house for me before he left so I wouldn't have to do it. The same darling husband who has taught me how to love. How to be compassionate. How to give of myself to others.

The judge allowed Mr. Glock to accompany Chris to the stand. (Mind you at this point Chris had no idea he was even going to have an attorney, much less Mr. Glock). The judge announced that he was presiding for the judge who normally presided in this chamber. Enter: God moment. Huge God moment. So the icky judge was out for the day. A different judge was sitting in his seat.

The judge announced Chris' charges: felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon in an airport. He posted bond (and the bond was not $50 or $100k-mind you, it thousands upon thousands of dollars, but at least we won't have to sell our firstborn child...well, maybe...) and he did not place any restrictions on Chris (the kicker for him being able to keep his job). Chris would be released (still charged with a felony) and his case would go to the Superior Court (federal offense).

So as I sat calculating how much money we had in savings (a faaaaaar cry from what I needed to produce in a few short hours), I stopped and praised God. I realized that despite the seriousness of our situation and despite the unfathomable nature of what we were (and are) going through, our God is good and He is in absolute control of our every step. I know that we are in this situation for a reason. I don't know what that reason is; I don't even know how we are going to possibly endure the next few months (and years, Mr. Glock reminds me). What I do know is that we will endure them. We will come out stronger than when we went in. And we will praise our God every step of the way.

12 hours later I got to wrap my arms around the man I love most in this world (aside from my dads of course) and we walked out of the Clayton County Jail.

Again, I share this story, not for you all to know the intimate details of our lives (which is silly because now you do...), not to burden you with our stress, but to share how God sees you through even the craziest of times.

People keep telling me that Chris and I have been through so much in our time together. I don't ever understand that comment. I just know that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans...

We love you all and are SO blessed to have so many people who love and support us. Please keep us in your prayers. We will keep you all in ours.

And now off to find that lost box of Christmas ornaments...

"The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundations on the rock."Matthew 7:25